Interview: Three 6 Mafia
Thu, 19 Nov 2009 11:29:56
Life is good for Three 6 Mafia.
"I just left Jerry's Deli, and I'm chilling," chuckles Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J through a wide smile. "I had a delicious late breakfast—or brunch, whatever you want to call it [Laughs]."
In addition to kicking it at Jerry's, Juicy has been holed up in the studio finishing Three 6 Mafia's forthcoming album, Laws of Power. Set to hit shelves this March, Laws of Power is an epic hip hop masterpiece. Three 6 Mafia preserve their classic edge, while wildin' out with the likes of Tiësto on new single "Feel It" and Tech N9ne on "Shots After Shots." From electronica music icons to underground trendsetters, Three 6 Mafia can rock with anyone, and their collaborations are to-die-for. They're laying down the law for sure this time around, and rap will never be the same…
The Academy Award-winning, Sizzurp-slinging MC Juicy J sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for this exclusive interview about Laws of Power, possibly working with legendary Velvet Revolver and Guns N' Roses axeman SLASH, how horror movies inspire him and so much more.
Do you feel like you're moving into new territory on this album? It's a bigger, more epic sound.
We worked really hard on Laws of Power! Some of the songs, like our single with Tiësto ["Feel It"], have a more international sound. Most of the album is like a lot of our older stuff that we put out back in the day. If you listen to "Lil' Freak (Ugh, Ugh, Ugh)," it has that old Three 6 Mafia sound. We try to stick with the same style that we were doing in the early '90s and 2000, and then we add a little bit of a new swag to it. You know what I'm saying?
That swag is present on "Feel It." What's the story behind that track?
We just went into the studio and did it. Tiësto made the track, and we recorded our parts. Sean Kingston came in on the record, and it's banging. It's heating up, man. Flo Rida's on it too. It's one of those records that when it comes on you're like, "Holy shit!" We've got a lot of different fans. We've got a pop fan base and we've got our original fan base, so we tried to please everybody on this new album. The record is for original Three 6 Mafia fans, and we've got other kinds of songs on there for people that like the pop stuff. We've got a huge following.
If Laws of Power were a movie, what would it be?
The Godfather, because we're mobbin' out on those tracks! We're going straight mob on the whole album [Laughs].
You're almost like cinematic rappers, telling stories on every song. Do you feel like that storytelling tradition continue here?
Yeah, we just try to stick with what we've been doing for years. They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it…So far, we've been winning with that. We tried a couple different things with the Tiësto track. I love the song. We've got a record we did with Rodney Jerkins called "Shake My." I love all of the music on the album.
Are you still doing a track with Slash?
Dr. Luke produced a track called "Shots After Shots," and we're supposed to get Slash on it. It didn't happen yet though. It's still in the works. The track is hard! We're trying our best to get Slash on it because I think that would be really hot!
Your collaboration with Tech N9ne "Demons" goes into evil territory as well.
That dark style is the original Three 6 Mafia sound. We always had that. We tried to bring that back with the new CD. The fans have been missing that. We've got to give the fans what they want!
What attracts you to that darkness?
I've always watched a bunch of scary movies. I love scary movies! I don't know how old you are, but I used to watch this TV show called Creature Feature. I used to watch all of these scary shows they had on Channel 24 back in the day. I'm talking way back in the day—the late '80s, early '90s. I always loved the sound of scary movies. I'd go to the movies any day to check out a good scary movie. I also dig the slasher-type stuff! Jason and freddy are classics right there. Everybody grew up on that shit [Laughs].
Does finding inspiration in movies and other art forms make for deeper music?
Yeah, of course! We shot a couple of movies ourselves—Choices, Choices II and this comedy called Clean Up Men. We won an Academy Award for Hustle & Flow. We always wanted to have something to do with the film and television business. We had our own television show, Adventures In Hollywood. We have another TV show coming out called Cookin' Ain't Easy. It's a comedy cooking reality show. We're always keeping our heads in something. We've got a new liquor called Sizzurp. It's been out for a little while, but we're the owners of it. It's in liquor stores, and it tastes good! We've got purple, red and blue—all kinds of Sizzurp. It's legal and available in stores now. I have to keep saying it's legal and it's in stores [Laughs].
Is it important for artists to branch out of music because records don't sell like they used to?
Yeah, man, I feel you've got to keep your head in everything. You've got to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. A hundred checks are better than one check. If you look in the mailbox and you have five or six checks in there, that looks delicious! If you look in there and you've only got one, that's cool, but I'm trying to get money from everywhere across the board—the movie money, the independent game, etc. We're trying to get it all!
You're one of the few rap groups that could collaborate with Tech N9ne and Flo Rida all on the same record?
You've got to keep your ear to the street! Three 6 Mafia can do all different kinds of music and make it sound good. That's all that matters! We can accomplish anything we put our minds to.
Do you feel like there's a bit of a rock n' roll vibe on Laws of Power?
With Three 6 Mafia, there's a little bit of everything! It's hard. Laws of Power is a movie from top to bottom—straight through.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…